So now that I am in my 43rd year thoughts of mortality loom. Eat less. Move more. That’s the secret to a longer life.
But I might be wasting my time. To quote Michael Fitzpatrick (I’m not convinced I can work out who he is but anyway):
“The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The French eat a lot of fat and also have fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. What kills you is speaking English”.
With these words in mind I proceeded to create the most decadent dish I could think of – served with vast quantities of red wine:
Fillet Steak in Madeira Sauce with Risotto
For the steak
- 2 beef fillet steaks
- 250 mls Madeira wine
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 250 mls beef stock
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
For the risotto
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice
- Large knob butter
- Olive oil
- 1 glass white wine
- 8 chestnut mushrooms
- 1 small squash, diced
- 3 banana shallots, finely chopped
- 500 mls vegetable stock
- Handful of chives, chopped
- Bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
First prepare the risotto. Heat the oven to 180 Centigrade. Place the squash on a baking tray and drizzle over olive oil, season well.
Cook for about 15 mins until the pieces are starting to brown around the edges.
Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the shallot and cook gently until it turns translucent but isn’t browning. Add the rice and combine so that all the grains are coated in oils and cook for a minute or two. Pour in the wine and stir a few times.
Allow the rice to absorb the wine. Continue stirring, adding the stock a bit at a time.
Meanwhile start preparing the sauce (jus, gravy) for the steak. Very easy – cook the onion and garlic in a small saucepan.
Add the madeira and the stock. Leave to simmer so that it starts reducing.
Back to the risotto (which somehow you’ve managed to keep stirring while making the sauce) – add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Then add the pumpkin and stir in.
Now add the herbage and the cheese. Stir.
Put some additional knobs of butter on top, turn off the heat, cover and leave.
It’s steak time. Get your oiled and seasoned steaks and fry on a hot griddle for a couple of minutes each side (or less if you like it really rare).
Pop the steaks in the pan with the sauce to allow it to absorb some of the colour and flavour.
To plate up place a large spoonful of risotto into a large-rimmed pasta bowl. Slice one of the steaks into three and lay on top of the risotto. Using a sieve, strain the sauce and then drizzle over the steak and around the risotto. Garnish and serve.
What you have a here is a bowl of rich, flavoursome goodness. And it’s a perfect way to start the ‘Eat what you like diet’.